The appellate authority under the RTI (Right to Information) Act of the Securities and Exchange Board of India comprising of Mr. Anand Baiwar adjudicated in the matter of Renu v CPIO, SEBI, Mumbai (Appeal No. 4351 of 2021) dealt with an issue in connection with Section 2 (f) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
The appellant, Ms Renu had filed an application via RTI MIS Portal on the 8th of June, 2021 under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The respondent responded to the application by a letter on the 16th of June, 2021, filed by the appellate. After receiving a letter from the respondent on 16th of June, 2021, on her application, the appellate decided to file an appeal on the 22nd of June, 2021. In her application, the appellate was seeking the following information:
- How much amount can a central employee invest annually in mutual funds?
- Can central employee do long term and short term investment in stock market?
- If yes, how much amount be invested annually?
- Will the above investment have to be reported to anyone or permission has to be taken from anyone? If yes, with whom?
The respondent, in response to query numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4, informed that the information sought does not pertain to SEBI.
The appellant has filed the appeal on the ground that the information provided was incomplete, misleading or false. The appellant, in her appeal, inter alia, requested to provide accurate information so that employees get benefitted. On perusal of the queries, it appears that the queries are in the nature of seeking clarification/opinion from the respondent regarding investment that can be made by central employee. It is understood that the respondent is not supposed to create information; or to interpret information; or to furnish clarification to the appellant under the ambit of the RTI Act.
For the query, the appellate authority, Mr Anand Baiwar, made reference to the matter of Hon’ble CIC, in the matter of Vineet Pandey vs. CPIO, United India Insurance Company Limited (Judgment dated January 21, 2021), wherein similar observations were made by the Hon’ble CIC. Further, in the matter of Shri Shantaram Walavalkar vs. CPIO, SEBI (Decision dated January 17, 2013), it was noted that the Hon’ble CIC held: “… we would also like to observe that, under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the citizen has the responsibility to specify the exact information he wants; he is not supposed to seek any opinion or comments or clarifications or interpretations from the CPIO…”. In view of these observations, the appellate authority found no deficiency in the response.
In view of the above-made observations, the Appeal was accordingly dismissed since the appellate authority found that there was no need to interfere with the decision of the respondent.